Press Releases | July 25, 2023

$1.69 Million in Capacity Building Awards to four high-performing public charter school networks

The Mind Trust, an Indianapolis-based education nonprofit, is excited to announce a total of $1.69 million in Capacity Building Awards to four high-performing K-12 and adult charter school networks. Christel House DORS, Circle City Prep, The Excel Center, and Herron Classical Schools will receive awards that support the growth of each network through launching new campuses or expanding current ones.

“The Mind Trust is proud to award Capacity Building Awards to four locally-grown, deeply impactful Indianapolis charter networks that have made significant contributions to K-12 and adult education in our city,” said Brandon Brown, CEO of The Mind Trust. “Access to great public education is essential to sustaining a thriving city. These public charter networks are driving transformational progress for students in Indianapolis and our team looks forward to supporting their expanded impact on students and families.”

Christel House DORS – $240,000

Christel House DORS, operated by the Christel House Indianapolis charter school network, helps adults 18 and older earn their Core 40 high school diploma. Campuses in the south, near west, and midtown areas of Indianapolis serve more than 800 students, with the near west campus holding a waitlist. A fourth campus will open this fall on the northwest side of the city due to growing enrollment demands in that area and to help remove transportation barriers to the program. The award funding will help support costs for the first year of the northwest adult high school campus.

Christel House DORS offers childcare, transportation assistance, flexible class schedules, and free college credit and English Language Learner classes. 93% of graduates earn dual credit or career certifications in addition to the Core 40 diploma. 98% of DORS graduates participating in the College & Careers program are continuing their education, are employed, or both.

Circle City Prep – $250,000

Circle City prep is a K-7 public charter school located on the Far Eastside of Indianapolis. The school will grow to serve K-8 students by the 2024-2025 school year. With steadily growing enrollment, a strong leadership team, and consistent academic results at its current campus, Circle City Prep is one school year away from being at scale and laying the groundwork to add a second location. The award funding will be used to support the growth of the current campus and the network’s expansion plan.

Circle City Prep’s school model focuses on excellence in academic instruction and character development, ensuring their students become ambitious, powerful learners and responsible, positive leaders on the path to college and a life of opportunity. Within IPS boundaries, Circle City Prep has the 7th highest ILEARN proficiency for Black students and the 9th highest ILEARN proficiency for Latino students. In the 2022-2023 school year, the school served 320 students, with 90% identifying as students of color and 96% of students qualifying as low-income.

The Excel Center – $200,000

The Excel Center is a charter school network operated by Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana that helps adults earn their Core 40 high school diploma. The network will open its 16th Indiana campus this fall at The Excel Center Southeast in the former Indianapolis Public Schools’ (IPS) Paul I. Miller School 114 building. This campus, located within a three-mile radius of the Community Justice Campus, will have an additional focus on adults who are or have been involved in the justice system. The award funding will support the initial costs of opening the new campus during its first year.

The Excel Center has been serving Indianapolis students since 2010. The schools offer year-round, flexible class schedules, life coaching, childcare, free college credits, and support for students with special education needs. 99% of their graduates earned college credits or industry-recognized certifications.

Herron Preparatory Academy – $1 Million

Herron Classical Schools is a network of public charter schools that serve more than 1,400 Indianapolis students across three campuses. Herron Preparatory Academy launched in fall 2021 and served more than 170 students in grades K-3 in the 2022-2023 school year. They will continue to grow to serve students in grades K-8. Since launching, Herron Preparatory has had a growing waitlist and is preparing to move to a permanent campus in the former Salvation Army headquarters for the 2023-2024 school year. The funding will support Herron Preparatory’s facility expansion and kickstart plans for additional network growth.

Similar to the high schools within the Herron Classical Schools network, Herron Preparatory offers a classical, liberal arts curriculum that provides students with a solid foundation to better prepare them for high school and beyond. Herron and Herron Riverside High Schools are consistently two of the highest performing public high schools in the city and state.

About The Mind Trust

The Mind Trust is an Indianapolis-based education nonprofit that works to build a system of schools that gives every student, no exceptions, access to a high-quality education. The Mind Trust does this by building a supportive environment for schools through policy and community engagement, empowering talented, diverse educators to launch new schools, and providing existing schools with the support they need to hire world-class talent and achieve excellence. Since 2006, The Mind Trust has supported the launch of 49 schools, 15 education nonprofit organizations, and has helped place more than 1,800 teachers and school leaders in Indianapolis classrooms.